4:32 pm Oct. 26, 20121
Hurricane Sandy is scheduled to make landfall sometime on Monday.
While the magnitude of the storm and its potential impact on New York City remain unknowable for now, Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged New Yorkers to prepare for the worst.
"Whenever or whatever or wherever this storm comes ashore, however, our city is very likely to feel its effects in the form of high tides, high winds and heavy rainfall lasting for several days," he said, speaking to the press in City Hall. "There's the possibility of parts of our city flooding or high winds that could force certain bridges to be closed."
Of particular concern are those low-lying neighborhoods the city categorizes as "Zone A," namely Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, Red Hook, parts of Brooklyn along the East River, the Rockaways, Hamilton Beach, Broad Channel, almost all the coastline of Staten Island, City Island, a small patch of Throgs Neck, parts of the South Bronx, Battery Park City, stretches of Manhattan's west-side waterfront, and parts of the Lower East Side and the East Village.
(To find out if you are one of the 375,000 people who live in Zone A, visit NYC.gov or call 311.)
"Let me remind you that during Hurricane Irene, these areas were put under a mandatory evacuation order," said Bloomberg. "And as of now, we're not going to require evacuation of these areas, but if that changes, we will make an announcement giving further details and you should know whether you live in those areas."
The mayor also urged New Yorkers to stay out of parks starting Sunday, because of the risk posed by downed limbs. The Department of Buildings, meanwhile, has ordered the cessation of all exterior construction work as of 5 p.m. today and until further notice.
He also urged people to give blood.
Both the city's website and 311 will also have updated storm information. New Yorkers can also sign up for Notify NYC emails and text message alerts, or follow @NYCMayorsOffice or @NotifyNYC on Twitter.
The mayor recommended New Yorkers stock up on basic supplies and make a "go bag" containing drinking water, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, any important medications, identification, and an extra set of car and house keys. Meanwhile, the M.T.A. is planning to suspend service before the arrival of sustained winds of at least 39 mph. It's also considering suspending some or all service in advance of the storm.
There may also be power outages.
"This is a large unpredictable storm, so be prepared for possible outages," said Bloomberg.
The mayor has yet to decide whether school will be in session on Monday. That announcement will likely come Sunday.
"We have no idea whether it's gonna be same as Irene," he said, referring to last year's storm, which ended up being less powerful than expected.
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